29 Jul

Truth Out Today, Friday 29 July 2011


Friday 29 July 2011

Why Democracy Is Public: The American Dream Beats the Nightmare
George Lakoff and Glenn W. Smith, Truthout: “Our nation has vast national wealth: a huge continental landmass with wealth in minerals, agricultural land, forests, cities, beautiful places, as well as its public wealth, that is, the creative wealth of its educated citizenry and the collective wealth of all its citizens and corporations. We, the public, can put our nation’s vast wealth to use in creating jobs that make the lives of all better: building, educating, curing and imagining. That is the Dream. To realize the Dream, we must end the Nightmare.”
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William Rivers Pitt | Epic Fail
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: “A tidal wave of Stupid washed over Washington, DC, on Thursday night, and when the sun rose on Friday to shine on the calendar of doom – four days left until default – it became all too evident that a manufactured crisis had suddenly transformed into a very, very real one. House Speaker Boehner attempted to ram through a draconian debt-limit bill in order to force Senate Democrats to reject it – more theater, of course – but found himself unable to control his own caucus. After a feverish day-long attempt to whip enough votes to pass the measure, Boehner’s Tea Party right flank told him to take his bill, fold it, spindle it, and shove it where the orange don’t reach.”
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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Norwegian Terrorist Anders Breivik Got His Weapons From US, and More
In today’s On the News segment: Boehner is two votes shy and no one is budging; economy has hit the wall; Democrats fighting GOP voter-ID laws; Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik got his weapons from US; GOP in House Judiciary Committee passed act forcing Internet service providers track your names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers and web sites you’ve visited in the last year; and more.
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How Shadowy Right-Wing Front Groups Engineered Our National Embrace of Debt Reduction Over Job Creation
Lee Fang, ThinkProgress: “Since the end of the Bush presidency, shadowy right-wing groups, many of them formed for this very purpose, have primed the public with a sophisticated public relations campaign to shift the national discourse to a focus on debt reduction. Many of these groups do not appear partisan, and have figured out ways around registering their activity with the Federal Elections Commission (so the true extent to their ad-buying is rarely recorded).”
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Recovery Still Slow as New Data Show Little Growth
Catherine Rampell, The New York Times News Service: “The United States economy has slowed considerably this year from a year ago, according to a report from the Commerce Department released on Friday. The country’s gross domestic product, a broad measure of the goods and services produced across the economy, grew at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter, after having grown at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the first quarter – a number that itself was revised sharply down from earlier estimates of 1.9 percent.”
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Richard Wolff: Debt Showdown Is Political Theater Burdening Society’s Most Vulnerable (Video)
Juan Gonzalez and Richard D. Wolff, Democracy Now!: “Republicans have agreed to a vote today on a budget plan they say will cut the deficit $917 billion over 10 years. The move sets the stage for a showdown against unified Democratic opposition in the Senate and threats of a White House veto. To discuss the debt talks and economic austerity worldwide, we’re joined by Richard Wolff, Emeritus Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of several books, including ‘Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.'”
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Michael Winship | When the Super-Rich Cry, “Class Warfare!”
Michael Winship, Truthout: “I ran into my friend Jeff Madrick a few weeks ago. Like a rabbit out of a hat, or so it seemed, he whipped from his coat a copy of his new book, ‘Age of Greed.’ He gave the book to me and I’m grateful. It’s a compelling and worthy read. Jeff’s an able journalist, an excellent and cogent storyteller in a field that often defies the straightforward plot or easy explanation – economics.”
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Time for Public Sector Unions to Fight Back
Shamus Cooke, Truthout: “The media attack on public sector unions has reached a timely zenith, perfectly in sync with the politicians’ anti-union deathblow. This coordinated campaign is happening nationwide, and includes Democratic and Republican marauders on a state-by-state basis. There are several state battlegrounds where this war is coming to completion, but no winner has been declared. If Democratic and Republican governors are able to force massive concessions on public sector unions – and the corresponding cuts to the services their members deliver to the public – the labor movement and the social safety net will both be decimated, paving the way for even more brutal, future attacks.”
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Former Afghan Prime Minister Says Taliban Offer Talks for Pullout Date
Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service: “The Taliban leadership is ready to negotiate peace with the United States right now if Washington indicates its willingness to provide a timetable for complete withdrawal, according to a former Afghan prime minister who set up a secret meeting between a senior Taliban official and a U.S. general two years ago. They also have no problem with meeting the oft-repeated U.S. demand that the Taliban cut ties completely with Al-Qaeda.”
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Stop Calling This a “Debt Crisis” – It Isn’t
Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future: “You have probably been hearing about ‘the debt crisis.’ I can’t open a newspaper or turn on the radio or TV without hearing about ‘the debt crisis.’ Well stop calling it that, because that isn’t what is going on. There is no debt crisis; the only crisis going on is the threat of several members of the House to vote against raising the debt ceiling if they don’t get their way, thereby sending our country into default. They are trying to get around the rules of democracy and force deep cuts in the things We, the People do for each other while keeping taxes really low for the wealthy.”
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Clinton’s Nuclear Bargain With India
J. Sri Raman, Truthout: “If a ‘strategic partnership’ is here, can business pacts be far behind? US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left no doubt about the close nexus between the two during her recent visit to New Delhi while answering fresh questions raised over the famous US-India nuclear deal. The main question arose from a decision of the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) that seemed to deny a special concession India had won from the Vienna-based forum on the eve of the deal, as an essential condition for its conclusion.”
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The Racial Wealth Gap’s Larger Than Ever. Here’s How It Will Destroy Us
Kai Wright, ColorLines.Com: “The racial wealth gap has been enormous ever since the Census Bureau began measuring it 25 years ago. But it has never been larger than today. The median wealth of a white family is now at least 20 times higher than that of a black family and 18 times that of a Latino family, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Pew looked at wealth numbers between 2005 and the technical end of the US recession in 2009. It found that the racial wealth gap exploded in that time period, as blacks and Latinos suffered dramatic blows from the collapsed housing market.”
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For many years, BuzzFlash offered a GOP hypocrite of the week award.

The problem was not in finding someone who fit the “honor,” it was selecting one from a teeming cauldron of candidates.

In some ways, hypocrisy is a built-in component of being an inflexible Republican, since a major part of the party is known for its pronounced moral scolding and inflexible stances allegedly based on “principle.”

Human nature being what it is, an abundance of Republicans are revealed to be hypocrites on everything from monogamy to feeding themselves at the public trough.

In the debt ceiling political spectacle, a freshman GOP Congressman from Illinois, Joe Walsh, has been a leader of the hard-line “fiscal responsibility” Tea Party faction.

But the hypocritical skeletons are coming out of Congressman Walsh’s closet, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:

Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December.

“I won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money!” Walsh says directly into the camera in his viral video lecturing Obama on the need to get the nation’s finances in order.

Walsh’s wife is not a happy camper with his hypocrisy: “In 2004, Laura Walsh complained in a motion that despite her ex-husband’s claims of poverty, he took a vacation to Mexico with his girlfriend and another to Italy.”

The details get more sordid as you read the Sun-Times article:

In addition to the foreclosure on his condominium, Walsh was haunted during his campaign by disclosures of liens on his property from unpaid bills and staffers abandoning his campaign, saying he wasn’t paying them.

Keith Liscio, who said Walsh hired him to be campaign manager – Walsh disputes that – has sued Walsh for $20,000 in salary he said Walsh owes him. Both sides are trying to settle that case.

Staffers learned during the campaign that Walsh was driving on a suspended license. His license was suspended twice in 2008 for his failure to appear in court, and he was cited in 2009 for driving on a suspended license, according to the Illinois Secretary of State.

Another noteworthy point is that it appears Walsh’s current Congressional salary, $175,000 per year (along with tremendous benefits), is the highest he has been paid in years. He is prospering off taxpayer dollars.

As we wrote the GOP hypocrite of the week articles for many years, we would wonder: Are these con men (and the vast majority were men) or just people with profound psychological repression?

Either way, America loses as we get a daily dose of duplicity instead of public policy that can advance the nation.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

Paul Krugman: The Problem With American Politics Right Now Is Republican Extremism
Read the Article at The New York Times

Why Is Pat Buchanan Still an Acceptable Television Pundit When He Is a Fringe White Supremacist?
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Mexican Professor Not Allowed to Fly Over US Territory: Plane Forced to Turn Back
Read the Article at The Progressive

Charting the American Debt Crisis
Read the Article at The New York times

Ann Davidow: The Jingoistic Cult of the Tea Party Is a Perversion of Our Once Proud Heritage and Principles
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

US Economy Almost Flatlined in Most Recent Economic Report
Read the Article at Reuters

Matt Taibbi: Evil Corporate Tax Holiday Gains Bipartisan Support
Read the Article at The Rolling Stone

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